Knob and Tube Wiring Dangers

Knob and Tube Wiring DangersWe use electricity so casualty today that it may be hard to realize that our homes and buildings have only been wired for this utility less than 120 years. While Freedom Electric was not around to skillfully install your wiring during the 1890s, and works to the latest codes in use today, they understand the knob and tube system used in that day.

When electricity came to your neighbourhood at the turn of the 20th century it had to be installed in existing homes and buildings and this was done by surface mounting switches and light fixtures, and connecting them with copper wires covered with an insulating material of cotton, natural rubber and varnish. These wires were held in place using ceramic knobs, and when passing through walls or boards, using ceramic tubes, to prevent damage to the wires.

So what can go wrong? These primitive insulating materials could crack with age, or be damaged in some way, even becoming food for stray mice and rats in the attic or basement. With time, the new, exposed, wires became part of the wall and perhaps used to hold papers, or worse, wash cloths.

In the attic wires were often run over the top of the ceiling joists and held with ceramic knobs. In the darkness these wires could trip a person, or be stepped on and dislodged from the knob, cracking the insulation open and causing a potential short.

In the basement, the wires were usually run between the floor joists using knobs, or through the joists using tubes. As cobwebs and dust collected, the wires became an obvious place to hang rags and what-have-you.

When Freedom Electric comes across these wiring situations in a home, or building, today, they document the problem and explain to the customer that the wiring is old, and fails to meet today’s codes, and must be replaced. The customer is reminded how our electrical use has changed and increased, over the last hundred years. They go on to show the customer how modern wiring is better made, better insulated, and better protected from damage and rodents, and explain how these new materials will safely last the next hundred years.

When the wiring was installed in these old homes, the only projected use was for electric lights. But, electrical appliances quickly came to draw upon the original wiring in the home; fans, washing machines, portable heaters, toasters, mixers, radios, even vacuum sweepers. In the beginning, these appliances were plugged into the light sockets, using a screw in adapter. It wasn’t long before homeowners wanted wall outlets to handle all these new appliances.

For your new modern appliance, call Freedom Electric, to get you wired right!

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